BattleBots 2019 tournament is down to eight robots after the completion Friday night, September 20th, of the Top 16 battles. There were some great surprises and SPOILER ALERT – some quick results – all detailed below. Winners in Bold and listed first.
Lock Jaw versus Black Dragon
The best battle of the night in the Top 16 BattleBots 2019 tournament was this one. Lock Jaw and Donald Hutson came out fast and furious flipping João Marcos Giacometti Cavalheiro and Black Dragon upside down on the second hit of the battle, then flipping them again, and then double flipping them.
Things turned at the halfway point with Black Dragon’s Brazilian egg beater landing a devastating blow to the primary weapon of Lock Jaw, rendering it unworkable.
On TV, you see Donald telling his other driver to speed up the weapon, he gets a negative (non functioning), and then immediately turns the momentum of the battle back in his favor by ramming Black Dragon out of the arena.
Normally that one blow by Black Dragon could have been enough to win because it took out the primary weapon of Lock Jaw. The immediate and decisive next move by Donald Hutson, and the stunning result, tipped this fight just in his favor.
Lock Jaw was smoking for the last half of the fight with no primary weapon. Nine out of ten times if you hear this description of a bot it is about a loss. Credit to Donald for a super aggressive start, a timely and critical next move, and the ability to just keep his bot legal until time ran out.
In the end a split decision confirmed how close this battle was. Judge Jason voted for Black Dragon, while judges Lisa and Derek voted for Donald and Lock Jaw.
Minotaur versus Hydra
The biggest surprise battle outcome of the BattleBots 2019 tournament was by far Minotaur knocking out Hydra in less than 20 seconds. This was the only fight I didn’t accurately predict the outcome. In fact going into the top 16 I thought Hydra was unbeatable, and the favorite to win the Giant Nut.
Hydra was the only bot to go 4-0 with 4 knockouts in the preliminary rounds! It disposed of Bronco like it was a drunken, washed up fighter past his prime. It sits lower than any other bot with a hydrofoil type armor, and it can flip any bot out of the arena with ease.
Daniel Freitas showed me how to beat Hydra. He charged and met Hydra in the middle of the arena for the first blow, getting flipped but staying in the arena and damaging the flipper. Next within seconds Minotaur was around the back of Hydra and had taken out a chain on the back left drive train, then the front left wheel, and Hydra was done.
The egg-beater/drum spinner was just too powerful for the armor or Hydra, and managed to deliver a fatal blow to its primary weapon on just the second hit.
My daughter’s favorite robot is Minotaur and we thought it was out of the competition after losing in the final of the Desperado tournament to Black Dragon. For Minotaur to get their bot right, and pull off a string of victories to land in the final 8, is truly the biggest surprise of this year’s tournament!
SawBlaze versus Son of Whyachi
This was a case of excellent driving by Jamison Go from SawBlaze, as he smothered Luke Ewert from Son of Whyachi throughout the fight – not ever letting his helicopter-like horizontal spinner to get up to speed. Although this fight went the distance, it was completely one-sided and a unanimous decision for SawBlaze.
Go added a more aggressive weapon set-up to his “saw” which ultimately led to huge advantage when he literally cut the bars of SOW in half – completely dismantling the bot. If you compare last year’s model to this year, you notice it went from a saw to a vertical disc spinner of much more weight.
Not that it was needed often, but Go also upgraded the armor on his wedge to AR500 steel – (Abrasion Resistant steel that has a Brinell hardness rating of 500). This was to protect against the devastating blows from SOW, but was not tested in this battle.
To SOW’s credit, Luke lasted the entire battle despite smoking for the last minute, and ultimately catching on fire!
Biteforce versus Uppercut
The favorite to win the Battlebots 2019 tournament, Paul Ventimiglia, wasted little time in disposing of the young yo-yo champion and upstart international robot battler Alex Hattori. Biteforce is undefeated in Battlebots 2019, and 12-0 since 2016, so this wasn’t a huge shock to anyone, however the manner it was done was a little shocking.
On the first and second hits of the battle Paul was able to get just off center of Uppercut’s gigantic vertical spinner, a subtle move, but one which allowed Biteforce’s weapon to use the energy of Uppercut against itself.
The results were spectacular, with Uppercut being thrown out of the arena on the first blow, and then into a terminal series of three tumbles ending with Uppercut upside down and out! All in about 20 seconds.
DeathRoll versus Yeti
Steven Martin got the better of Greg Gibson mainly because Yeti could not keep four wheels on the ground. The times when both bots went head -on, the energy transfer was about even. Impressive considering the size of Yeti’s drum spinner, it shows the force the vertical disc spinner from DeathRoll is able to deliver.
This is something I noticed early on in the tournament; there was something very different about the power delivered from DeathRoll – it jumped from the screen especially for a bot I had never previously even heard mentioned or seen fight.
In the end, it was the balance of incredible power in the weapon combined with the overall balance and stability of DeathRoll, that outdid the immense power of the Yeti Drum. DeathRoll was able to take advantage of the times Yeti was vulnerable, upright and defenseless, and land major damaging blows to the bottom, top, and ultimately the wheels of Yeti. A game of attrition was then heavily weighted in favor of DeathRoll, as Yeti’s performance was chipped away part by part until it just didn’t work anymore.
Tombstone versus Quantum
This was a satisfying battle for me as I am not a big fan of Quantum – innovative idea, beautiful robot, but also boring for the fans. TombStone on the other hand is great for the fans – as evidenced in this battle where it destroyed Quantum with two hits in about 10 seconds. The first big head-on smash sent Quantum up in the air, with TombStone underneath and able to apply his deadly, red, sharpened, 70 lb, vertical spinner to the bottom of Quantum and then to the back left wheel – game over.
Whiplash versus Huge
This was a great driving battle. Huge came out early and took out one of Whiplash’s tires. Whiplash can drive with three wheels but not with two, so any more tire damage would have been a KO.
Matt Vasquez smothered the blade in the center of Huge for most of the fight, despite having three wheels, by staying underneath Huge and using the lifting part of its own primary weapon to try and throw Huge out of the arena.
Jonathan Schultz did almost equal damage to Whiplash by out maneuvering Matt a few times to where he could get the blade moving. Between the 1:30 and 2:00 minute mark, Huge hit big on one of these blows and took out the vertical spinner attached to the lifting arm of Whiplash.
Although Matt controlled most of the fight, I think it was this fatal blow to his vertical spinner from Huge that made it a split decision in the end.
Judge Jason voted for Huge, but judges Lisa and Derek both went for Whiplash.
Witch Doctor versus Blacksmith
Andrea Gellatly and Mike Gellatly armed Witch Doctor with the most powerful weapon it has ever had, and, compared to last year, they have extended the weapon’s reach out in front of the bot. Both of these improvements paid off as Witch Doctor grinded Blacksmith into oblivion.
Blacksmith has traditionally relied on survival and defense to win battles. It’s offense is more “show then go,” as it’s hammer futility pounds away on armor meant to take unheard of pressure from direct hits (versus a spinner or saw), and fire which remarkably never seems to damage anyone.
Blacksmith usually wins by never being knocked out, and lasting long enough for either the judges to give it a fan favorite victory or the other bot to stop working. In the early rounds most bots self-destruct before they are destroyed so Al Kindle’s route to the top 16 is easier. However once faced with bots which bring the action without melting down, it doesn’t have an answer.
Witch Doctor knocked Al and Blacksmith into the screws, waited for them to reverse out, and smashed them again and again. Knockout!
BattleBots 2019 Predictions
Winner in bold
(% confidence I have for each bot)
Round of 8
Biteforce versus Lock Jaw (80/20)
Tombstone versus Whiplash (45/55)
Witch Doctor versus Saw Blaze (70/30)
Minotaur versus Death Roll (50/50)
Round of 4
Biteforce versus Whiplash (70/30)
Witch Doctor versus Death Roll (50/50)
Biteforce versus Witch Doctor (55/45)
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